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Despite the fact that health officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that HIV testing is one of the most effective ways to curb the spread of the disease, few Americans seek it. This allows infections to spread from person to person, increasing the number of people carrying the disease.
The health agency reports that relatively high percentages of individuals who are in high-risk demographics seek HIV testing. However, the numbers are much lower for average sexually active adults.
"We have to bring it out in the open, make it not a fearful thing to get a test," Terri Ford, a member of Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, told local news station KPBS. "HIV testing should be streamlined to be as convenient and accessible as possible for the person that is getting the courage up to get an HIV test."
She added that more community-based events to raise awareness and offer free or low-cost HIV testing are needed to help overcome the perceived stigma associated with screening.
The CDC says that there are currently more than 1 million people in the U.S. living with the disease, many of whom do not know they are infected.
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